FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 14, 2018) – The Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), has a new acting commissioner.
Elizabeth Caywood has 19 years of DCBS experience. Twelve of those years have been spent in the commissioner’s office as an internal policy analyst IV and executive advisor. Most recently, Caywood served as chief of staff for Commissioner Adria Johnson. With Johnson’s departure, Caywood was named acting commissioner.
During her career, Caywood’s experience spans every public assistance, child care, and social service program administered by the department, including regulation of various provider types and special projects. She is a member of the CHFS Institutional Review Board and has past experience as the chair of the Cabinet’s Appeal Board for Public Assistance, member of the Secretary’s legislative team, and lead cabinet staffer for the 2009-2011 Governor’s Task Force on Early Childhood Development and Education.
“I am honored that Secretary Meier has asked me to serve in this new role,” said Caywood. “We have an unprecedented opportunity and investment afforded to us by Governor Bevin, the first lady, and through our partnerships across the state, to positively transform the child welfare system and ensure every child knows a nurturing and permanent home. Coming from inside DCBS I have a unique perspective on how we can improve the services we provide and create a better environment for our valued employees. I found my purpose and work family in DCBS because the organization has such an incredible impact in the lives of Kentuckians each and every day.”
Over the course of the past two and a half years, Caywood has been instrumental in eliminating regulatory and statutory red tape, enhancing child protective services and appeals policies, and affecting the state’s compliance with the federal mandate for comprehensive background checks of child care providers. She has been a primary content contributor, agency presenter and an implementation driver for successfully enacted child welfare legislation from the last three regular sessions, including legislation concerning normalcy for foster children, foster youth driver’s licensing, fictive kin as an out-of-home care placement option, and House Bill 1 – the comprehensive child welfare legislation – from the 2018 Regular Session.
Caywood has been an adjunct professor and guest speaker for the University of Kentucky’s College of Social Work. Prior to her service with state government, she worked in Fayette County as a community developer, urban-county government eligibility counselor, and felony court victim advocate. She earned her bachelor and master degrees in social work from the University of Kentucky and has maintained social work certification in the Commonwealth of Kentucky since 1999.
Caywood resides in Frankfort with her husband and two-year-old daughter.